Teacher Education Program

Teaching and Curriculum Program (TAC)

Dahl with students in a classroomThe Teaching and Curriculum program (TAC) prepares individuals to become middle- or secondary-school classroom teachers in urban settings. Candidates include those with a strong commitment to urban education who hold liberal arts undergraduate or graduate degrees. The Program seeks those who wish to utilize an in-depth understanding of subject matter to construct meaningful learning activities and assessments for all students. The Program believes that those who value the methodology and social importance of their work, and hold a passion for their subject matter, will become more enthusiastic, more creative, and more effective teachers.

Objectives

The objectives for the Teaching and Curriculum (TAC) program are:

  • To educate teachers to advocate skillfully for the achievement of all students by utilizing an in-depth understanding of subject matter to construct meaningful learning activities for all students at various developmental stages;
  • To prepare leaders and agents for organizational and social change in classrooms, schools, and society. These teachers will understand the role of organizational dynamics and power relationships in their work;
  • To develop and share an exemplary teacher education program focused on issues of urban education where teachers understand how different students learn and develop and use this understanding to construct appropriate, positive learning environments, curriculum and assessments to achieve equity and democracy in their classrooms, schools and society.

The centerpiece of the Program is extensive fieldwork in secondary classrooms that helps to integrate practice and theory as well as curricula and pedagogy. The program explicitly teaches and practices critical reflection about classroom practices, the context of education and the nature and purposes of teaching and learning. The link among subject-matter interests, curriculum development, issues of social location and practice provides TAC candidates with opportunities to implement, assess, and revise curricula in urban classrooms while working under the supervision of experienced classroom teachers and, over time, to revitalize traditional materials and introduce new ideas into schools.

Background

Begun in 1985, the TAC Program is a result of the Graduate School of Education's commitment to develop an innovative teacher education program focused on the importance of the translation of candidates' subject-matter knowledge into curriculum that can best engage today's urban adolescents. The Program believes that the candidates' abilities to reflect upon their practice and to use that reflection for change and growth in urban settings is what will sustain and nurture them throughout their professional lives. TAC participants learn how to engage with effective teaching practices and develop habits of reflective practice that are the lifeblood of successful, experienced teachers.

tep studentTAC enrolls around 30 students per year. Roughly 25% of candidates have had previous teaching experience (e.g., abroad, in private schools, through Teach for America, or with waivers in public schools), another 25% have just completed their undergraduate education, and most have been involved in work that reflects social commitment and/or activism; or, in the case of mid-career humanities candidates, have been involved in such fields as law, journalism, non-profits, publishing, and government. Graduates may receive certification and licensure at grades 5-8 in the following fields: biology, earth science, English, general science, history, mathematics, and political science/political philosophy. At grades 8-12, certification and licensure may be received in biology, chemistry, earth science, English, history, mathematics, physics, and political science/political philosophy. No previous teaching experience is required for entrance into the program. View information on requirements and certification.

Teacher Journals

Several students have agreed to share their journals about learning to teach on the HGSE website. These students describe their work in urban schools, their coursework at Harvard, and the challenges and exhilarations of becoming a first-rate urban teacher. For a chance to experience and explore the program through the eyes of a student, visit Teacher Journals: In School with Educators.

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